Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Is hyperspace travel as seen in Star Wars possible?



Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas from midnight. Professor Carsten Welsch, Head of Physics at Liverpool University, looks at the possibility of hyperspace travel, as depicted in the space saga, in a guest post.

INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL?
IT MIGHT ONLY BE AN (ANTI) MATTER OF TIME

“She’s the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!”

Ok, so the Millennium Falcon made it from Hoth to Bespin even without its hyperdrive, and technically speaking, traversing the void between stars remains a fantasy, but science fiction is boldly edging a little closer to the frontiers of science fact thanks to pioneering work at the Cockcroft Institute, where experts from the University of Liverpool are leading a ground (and space) breaking programme to train antimatter scientists.



It's the explosive reaction between matter and antimatter that underpins one of the most iconic elements of Star Wars – rapid interstellar travel – but in the real world, this principle makes the study of antimatter difficult because, as Professor Carsten Welsch, Head of Physics at Liverpool University, says, “when an antiparticle and a particle meet they annihilate each other, disappearing in a flash of energy – so a trapping device is needed.”

Until now, only a very small amount of antiparticles have been able to be trapped this way, and for a limited amount of time. But a new facility based at CERN, the Extra Low Energy Antiproton ring (ELENA), will change this, becoming the first and only facility in the world to store and deliver cooled antiproton beams at low energy. Researchers at the Cockcroft Institute’s Accelerators Validating Antimatter physics research and training network, (AVA), will then be able to take a closer look at these mysterious particles and try to understand why it is that all matter in the universe created after the Big Bang isn’t accompanied by an equal amount of antimatter, or particles with an opposite charge.

Prof Welsch says: “The instrumentation and detectors to be developed by AVA will provide us with much better insight into low energy antimatter beams, so that we will be able to understand and control them better and carry out hitherto impossible experiments.” Such experiments have the potential to rewrite our assumptions about the nature and properties of space and time, making it one of the most exciting fields of research out there.

In fact, if scientists can work out how to create or collect large amount of antimatter, antimatter-propelled interstellar travel might even become a reality, although it’s unlikely you’ll ever make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. But if for now we’re still in the dark when it comes to some of the great problems of physics, the Cockcroft Institute and AVA aim to balance this with some much-needed light on the most enigmatic aspects of our universe.

About the Cockcroft Institute: www.cockcroft.ac.uk

The Cockcroft Institute is an international centre of excellence for accelerator science and technology in the UK.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Disney and Fox deal could be announced this Thursday



A merger between Disney and Fox is expected to be formally announced this Thursday according to CNBC. The day before Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released in US cinemas.

If the blockbuster deal goes ahead it will have ramifications beyond Disney's Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchises.

From a genre perspective. This means Disney can unify its Marvel superhero strand (barring Spider-Man at Sony) ahead of the tenth anniversary of the release of Iron Man, and bolster the offering of the Mouse House's streaming service expected to premiere with a live-action Star Wars series in 2019.

Whilst Marvel fans may not see Hugh Jackman reprise the role of Wolverine in the MCU. The X-Men franchise, aside from Logan and Legion, has been running on fumes following the excellent First Class and is in need of a reboot.

Many Star Wars fans (myself included) have mused the Fox Fanfare maybe reinstated for Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by JJ Abrams, which closes the sequel trilogy in 2019. This will be followed by Rian Johnson's new trilogy.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has been on an acquisition trail that has witnessed Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm merged into the company. To infinity and beyond on the stock market...

Monday, 11 December 2017

BBC Star Wars documentary: The Galaxy Britain Built



This Thursday Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas. Press reaction to last weekend's world premiere is exciting.

40 years ago Star Wars was released and much of the original film was shot at Elstree Studios. The BBC is showing a documentary celebrating the talented artisans that brought George Lucas' vision to the silver screen in 1977.

Personally, Star Wars has always signified hope (pun intended). Seeing the original movie with my mum, who passed away in 2007, was one of the most profound experiences of my life in the wake of a life-changing brain injury at primary school. It'll be bittersweet seeing The Last Jedi without her...

The Galaxy Britain Built, made by Star Wars superfan and documentary-maker David Whiteley, will be shown on BBC Four on 21st December at 10:00PM and then on BBC iPlayer.

Special thanks to Matt Charlton for letting me know about this. No Bothans were harmed.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

First reactions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi



Following the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi last evening in Los Angeles, the press were allowed to share initial spoiler-free impressions of Rian Johnson's sequel to The Force Awakens. It's overwhelmingly positive.

Mark Hamill's performance in The Empire Strikes Back is easily overlooked for how effortless his interactions with Frank Oz's Yoda are during Luke Skywalker's Jedi training. The Last Jedi is another chance for him to show off his acting chops according to THR's Aaron Couch.



Fandango's Erik Davis goes on to suggests it's the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.



Seemingly The Last Jedi is a home run. However, fans can discover for themselves when the movie is released this week. I'll be seeing the latest instalment in the Star Wars saga on Saturday.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Watch the Star Wars: The Last Jedi world premiere



Excitement for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is building and the world premiere takes place in Los Angeles today.

Fans (myself included) unlucky enough not to attend the premiere can watch the red carpet festivities live on StarWars.com hosted by The Star Wars Show's Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni.

The latest instalment in the Star Wars saga picks up directly from where The Force Awakens ends and box office expectations are stellar. It’s impossible to predict how successful the Star Wars sequel will be, but fan reaction to Rian Johnson’s movie, on social media, should be an indication. Let’s hope they can keep things spoiler-free. So, we can all enjoy The Last Jedi without the secrets spoiled.

Have you booked tickets to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Win a Star Wars holiday gift from CuffLinks.com



Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in US cinemas a week today. The highly anticipated Star Wars sequel, directed by Rian Johnson, sees Rey begin her training as a Jedi.

The fine folks at CuffLinks.com are celebrating the release of the next instalment in the Star Wars saga with 25% off products from today and 4 days of sales next week. Be sure to subscribe to my social media, FacebookInstagram and Twitter, as I'll be sharing exclusive vanity codes for further discounts.

We've teamed up to give one reader a limited edition pair of Darth Vader socks for the holidays.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this simple question:

Who is Darth Vader's grandson?

A. General Hux
B. Poe Dameron
C. Kylo Ren

Please leave your answer and where you heard about the competition in the comments below.

The competition is open to all and closes Friday, 15th December. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted soon thereafter. Only one entry per household.

Good luck and may the Force be with you. Always.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in cinemas 15th December.

The Force Is Here!
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This blog post is sponsored by CuffLinks.com and therefore I may receive compensation for any referrals.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Last Jedi features Space Gary



Eagle-eyed Star Wars fans over at Fantha Tracks spied what appeared to be an homage to Gary, the late Carrie Fisher's dog, in a promotional photo featuring Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) from The Last Jedi in Empire magazine. Director Rian Johnson confirmed this on Twitter. You can read more on this exclusive at Fantha Tracks.



Gary is a beloved member of the extended Star Wars family. I'll never forget the hilarity that ensued during Star Wars Celebration Europe when Carrie and Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in the original trilogy, attempted to recreate the scene in which their characters first meet in Return of the Jedi. Gary wasn't having any of it and defended Carrie...

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Carey Mulligan said no to Doctor Who companion role



Steven Moffat, outgoing Doctor Who series showrunner, told the RadioTimes (RT) Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan, who played Sally Sparrow in the acclaimed David Tennant episode Blink, was asked to join Team TARDIS:

“Oh my God, Carey Mulligan! It’s funny but 'Blink,' I say immodestly, is a very famous episode of television and yet Carey Mulligan, who was the star of it, I'm almost certain wouldn't even remember being in Doctor Who. I don't think she was much of a fan, or anything. They liked her so much, they said, 'Do you want to be the next companion? but she said no. God, she was amazing.“

Doctor Who returns Christmas Day on BBC One at 5:30PM. Peter Capaldi regenerates into Jodie Whittaker in the polar ice. International fans, please check local listings.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Last Jedi cast on Jimmy Kimmel Live



The cast and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday.

Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Gwen Christie, Kelly Marie Tran and Domnhall Gleeson, along with director Rian Johnson and special guest BB-8, stopped by to chat with Jimmy about the latest instalment in the Star Wars saga.



It's an especially poignant gathering as Carrie Fisher passed away last December and fans will see her play General Leia for the last time this holiday season.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theatres from 15th December.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Share Star Wars memories with Meerkat Movies



Compare the Market has launched a Meerkat Movies tie-in with Star Wars: The Last Jedi and recreates a scene from The Force Awakens in its latest advertisement.



Mark Vile, Chief Marketing Officer at comparethemarket.com, said: “The Star Wars franchise evokes nostalgic memories for many people, with a trip to the cinema often a highly anticipated family event. After a hugely successful partnership with Disney for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the biggest movie of all time in the UK, we’re delighted to be working on the next instalment of this iconic film franchise.

"We’ve got some exciting activations in the pipeline that our customers are going to love and be able to get actively involved in, so would advise everyone to keep a look out, as more is yet to be revealed.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas from 14th December.